Two confessions before we get into Bethesda’s fifth E3 showcase – BE3, as it has become known– and look at the short, sharp 80 minute show.
First, I love Bethesda. I rarely pick up one of their games and NOT finish it. Even the lower quality releases they put out kick the crap out of most other company’s outgoings for me. I don’t know what it is, something in their brand of action games just speaks to me. That said…
I do NOT care for their RPGs. For all I care, Fallout and Elder Scrolls could have never existed and my life wouldn’t be any different. Ok, that’s not true. I wouldn’t have wasted a day playing Fallout 76 hoping this would be the good one. It has meant that every BE3 event has literally only been half for me, and half for a sub-set of games I’ll never understand. But that doesn’t stop me from loving the conference and getting excited about it every year.
With that out the way, welcome to the Bethesda E3 conference. A short hour and a bit after the Xbox show swooped in and threw every game they could think of at us, the guys and girls from Zenimax have come to show what they’ve got up their sleeves. Shall we begin?
After a cool little montage of Bethesda employees giving us their stories and proclaiming “We are all Bethesda” Good Ol’ Pete Hines comes on stage and introduces the most prolific part of tonight’s conference… The audience. Because holy shit, these motherfuckers just won’t shut up. I’ve been at quieter, more reserved Slipknot concerts. Every full stop comes with a round of applause and a “Fuck yeah!”. I understand applauding these guys as they come out – love them or hate them, Hines and Todd Howard are rockstars – but come on. Is the constant whooping really necessary?
Howard is a great sport, Beth always admit their mistakes and try to make light of it, but
he got some crap when Fallout 76 was mentioned – I mean, that dude looked PISSED! – and fighting through it was the work of a real hero.
Surprisingly, the first game on show was The Elder Scrolls: Blades. The mobile TES game
that is getting a big update and a Nintendo Switch release. Followed up with a monster set of announcements for Fallout 76. Every new person that came on stage started with half an apology before telling us how they were going to improve things. Wastelanders was announced, an expansion that brings human NPCs, proper quests with conversation trees and consequences – in short, it’s making it an actual Fallout game, imagine that!
Follow that up with an all new Battle Royale mode, honestly, I’m not sure Bethesda have learned their lessons when it comes to NOT chasing trends, but it’s not my game. And if they balls it up, we can look forward to more jokes about it at E3 next year.
One of my top moments of the evening though, was the appearance of Tango Gameworks’ (The Evil Within) Shinji Mikami. The mastermind behind Resident Evil introduced us to his protege, Ikumi Nakamura , who in turn introduced us to the brand new game she is working on; Supernatural adventure Ghostwire Tokyo. Promising us “not the survival horror we are known for”, Tango’s next game looks like it will mix just enough of Mikami’s creepy style with a solid action backbone. Looking at what we saw, I’m guessing this’ll appear on Scarlett or the PS5 in the future, but it’s something to look forward to, for sure. And man, those noodles looked amazing! Elder Scrolls got its place dead centre of the show. As the game’s “Dragon Season” comes to an end – it had a start? – The Elder Scrolls Online sees a full season of content as its latest expansion, Elsweyr, keeps on growing. I’ll be honest, it all looks like Game of Thrones and all these years later, I just can’t get invested or excited for a cat in a hoody beating up dragons. But it looks fun, if you’re into that kinda thing.
Then, it’s all about the shooters. shooters, shooters everywhere. Ok, that might be overstating things. A looks at the new Rage 2 expansion which brought the 80’s aesthetic – a la Blood Dragon – and the pair of upcoming Wolfenstein games – Cyberpilot, a VR experience revealed last year with no release date yet. And Youngblood, a co-op experience set 20 years after the New Colossus, where you play Hero BJ Blaskowich’s twin daughters in the 80’s. Sounds great. More Wolfenstein is never a bad thing. And it comes out at the end of July. Hell, yeah!
Then, guys… guys… The moment I’ve all been waiting for, Arkane Studios are on the stage! The guys that brought me Dishonored, are bringing me Deathloop. And from the opening reveal it looks like it’s from the guys that made Dishonored. From what I can gather, you play as either Colt or Juliana, a pair of lethal assassins caught in a Groundhog Day style time loop trying to kill each other. Play how you want, kill how you please, these are statements that make this stealth action player’s trousers a little tighter. I’m guessing this is more next-gen content, but I’ll never NOT be excited for these games.
Ok, I lied. This is the moment I’ve waited for. And I’d hazard a guess in saying everyone else was, too. Finally, finally, after a year of teasing, we get a good look at Doom: Eternal. The follow up to 2016’s monstrous shooter and my most anticipated game of 2019. We see blood, we see demons, we see campaign highlights and multiplayer insanity. New game modes, new weapons and that god damned soundtrack is back. There’s no way this game doesn’t come out and blow the minds of every single person that installs it. It looks gross, it looks juicy and it looks fucking incredible.
I’m not a psychopath, I promise. But just looks at all that glorious violence!!
I allow myself time off work for one game a year – being a grown up sucks – and this year, I’ll be taking the time to play through Doom, then Doom: Eternal, then do them both again just because I fucking can. Doom is the grand daddy of all shooters, 2016 proved it still had the chops it was born with, Eternal looks to tear those chops off and beat demons with them!
Bravo Bethesda, bias or not, you absolutely killed it.